• Rebecca Anderson

Blog: In-Demand Skills for the Modern Content Marketing Manager

(Written for Divvy)

For many, the role of a content marketing manager is an enigma. When you try to explain the scope of your position, do people look at you and say, “So you write blogs and post stuff on social media?”


But we know it’s so much more than that. Content marketing managers are responsible for the strategy, creation and delivery of purposeful content across myriad online channels. To do this, content leaders straddle the fine line between long-term branding initiatives and short-term revenue goals.


While required skills vary significantly across content marketing leadership positions, for most, day-to-day responsibilities go beyond creation to also include campaign planning, resource scheduling, project management, quality control and ongoing optimization of performance.


If you’re already ruler of your company’s content domain, well done. But if you’re wondering how to better position yourself for global content domination (or just a more impressive title), read on to learn more about the most in-demand skills for content marketing managers.

Must-Have Skills for the Modern Content Marketing Manager

So, what do hiring managers want in a content marketing manager? Based on an analysis of 300 job descriptions, exceptional writing and editing capabilities are the most sought after skills with 69% of listings calling it out. Thirty-nine percent of companies desire strong SEO skills, while 22% require serious data analysis chops and 7% want someone who’s savvy in the ways of research. Half of companies prefer someone with content marketing experience. This figure may seem low considering that it’s a content marketing leader they’re after, but that’s mainly because, for many, an experienced journalist fits the bill. Social media experience is coveted as well, with 38% percent of listings calling it out.


Writing and Editing That’s Both Snazzy and Strategic

No one is surprised that writing and editing top the list of desired skills for a content marketing manager. The true surprise might be that 31% of companies didn’t call it out as a top priority. Perhaps it was an unspoken assumption, like being human.


Content marketing is perhaps the most strategic of writing. While writing should never be boring, in content marketing, words ultimately serve the greater business goals of developing an audience, upping engagement and getting the right people to buy into your problem-solving approach. Content should be supremely organized and align with what your audience wants. It’s great to have style, so long as it’s not sloppy.


Of course, goodest grammar make sense not always. Some employers and clients will want textbook grammar with no participles dangling. But others aren’t opposed to starting a sentence with the word “but” if it makes the copy more conversational.

The point is, being able to write and edit for a variety of audiences is an extremely marketable skill that requires a deep understanding of what a particular audience wants to hear and how they want to hear it.


Social Media Experience

It’s universally expected that content marketing managers have a better than average understanding of the culture and demographics associated with the top social media platforms. Even Grandma can post to Facebook but she probably can’t tell you about the business implications of using Instagram or Snapchat.

In some cases, content marketing managers will have a colleague responsible for social media strategy and integrating social media into the overall content strategy. In other cases, developing a social media strategy falls under the purview of the content marketing manager.


Solid SEO and Optimization Skills

If a content asset gets published and no one is able to read it, was it even created? Yes it was, and it was a waste. Hackneyed philosophy aside, all content marketing managers should understand how to optimize content for search and social visibility.


This should involve deep scrutinization of your content’s titles, headers and meta tags vs. quickly filling out these fields to mark each as complete. Content marketing managers should have a base understanding of keyword research, particularly as it relates to informing search strategy and topic selection. It’s also helpful to think of the “O” in “SEO” as “ongoing” — it’s normal to be surprised by what actually drives organic search traffic. Many of the biggest SEO wins come from capitalizing on unexpected optimization opportunities.


Data as Part of the Equation

Chances are you did not pursue a writing career because you love complex equations. You might be down with split infinitives but maybe not infinite numbers. Well, you may want to step outside your comfort zone for this one because it literally pays to improve your analytical chops; measuring content marketing performance is critical to the ongoing success of your content strategy.


A content marketing manager can provide specific value to the data analysis process by establishing benchmarks and leading the charge to pinpoint the specific metrics that should be used to measure success. Tracking performance doesn’t need to be hard. A Google Sheet or Excel File can work, although they’re seldom scalable. You can definitely find a more efficient tool for streamlining your content marketing analytics.


Research and the Quest for Engaging Information

Stating the obvious here: nobody knows everything. But if you want to know everything, you’re in good shape. The most effective content marketing managers are always on the hunt for information that will excite their audience and fill in content gaps that exist for your product category or industry.


This quest for knowledge is likely to take content marketing managers all around the web and beyond, listening to the sales and product teams, reading reviews on competitive websites, using competitor analysis tools and spending time with good old Google.


The propensity for research extends beyond planning into the creation of content. When verifying stats or linking to resources, the quintessential content marketing manager doesn’t stop at the top listing, or even Wikipedia unless it’s verified by a second source. Sometimes they may even *gasp* open a book.


Leadership Ability

Leading a team is a common responsibility for content marketing managers. The good news is, about 70% of companies are comfortable with you developing management skills on the job. Modeling the behaviors of leaders you respect is a good place to start. These five tips from the American Management Association are good to keep in mind. We also featured a book on team leadership in our recommended reading list for content marketing leaders.


Besides managing people, there’s also the not-so-minute matter of managing the millions of tasks associated with the content marketing program. So it’s no wonder that the ideal content marketing manager is meticulously organized with superb project management skills.


Other Duties As Assigned

The above categories don’t cover every skill needed to master life as a content marketing manager. Perhaps that’s why half of companies prefer to hire people who already have skills in content marketing.


If you already have gold stars across the board, deepen your expertise in complementary fields. At the end of the day, the more skills you can demonstrate, the better you can market yourself as content marketing management material.

We’re always trying to become more skillful at making things simpler for content marketing leaders. For a steady stream of advice that can make your work life merrier, subscribe to the DivvyHQ blog.

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©2018 by Rebecca Ann Anderson